New Zealand’s first ever American Football Southern Bowl showdown in March 2016 certainly won’t be short of Super Bowl rings with NFL coaching veterans Mike Holmgren and Mike Shanahan named as the Head Coaches.
Holmgren and Shanahan have both had long standing careers as coaches in the NFL and are well respected by many as masters of their coaching craft, with six Super Bowl wins between them. They have now been confirmed as the head coaches of the two teams heading to New Zealand to showcase their sport to New Zealand for the inaugural American Football Southern Bowl, with Game one on March 5th at Eden Park, Auckland and Game two on March 12th at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
If ever there was a coaching match up on par it is Holmgren vs Shanahan. They share virtually the same background and coaching philosophy, and they are famed for their mentoring of two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Brett Farve (Holmgren) and John Elway (Shanahan).
“Coach Holmgren and Shanahan are two of the most recognizable head coaches in the history of the NFL.” Says Southern Bowl North American Director, and CEO of Giesler Sports World Wide, Jarin Giesler, “Both coaches developed and mentored some of the greatest players in NFL history”.
Holmgren had a professional coaching career in the NFL spanning 22 years with the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. Throughout his career, Holmgren won three NFC championships and three Super Bowls, two as Assistant Coach for San Francisco 49ers and one as head coach for Green Bay Packers. In 2008, Holmgren received the Steve Largent Award.
Shanahan coached in the NFL for 28 years, including 19 seasons with Denver Broncos, as well as Los Angeles Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins. Over the course of his career, Shanahan has coached in eight college bowl games, two NCAA national championships, 10 NFL conference championships and Six Super Bowls. Coach Shanahan won one Super Bowl as an assistant coach for San Francisco 49ers and two as head coach of Denver Broncos.
The Southern Bowl won’t be the first time that Holmgren and Shanahan have gone head to head at a Bowl game. At the height of their careers they clashed at Super Bowl XXXII in 1998, with Holmgren’s Green Bay Packers defending their Super Bowl title against Shanahans’ Denver Broncos. The Broncos took the title, led by quarterback John Elway. Super Bowl XXXII is widely considered one of the three best Super Bowl clashes of all time with Holmgren and Shanahan spearheading their teams in the ultimate American Football battle and we can expect nothing less when these coaches clash again at the Southern Bowl.
The teams that Holmgren and Shanahan will be coaching will be made of players on the cusp of the NFL. The Southern Bowl Tryout Tour has just finished its first phase after five tryouts across the United States including San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, San Diego and Dallas. The athletes were put through a grueling test based on the NFL combine and what a player would expect from an NFL workout. The final roster will be named following a draft in October in which Holmgren and Shanahan will pick their teams’ one for one. NFL Scouts will be at the games in NZ providing a huge source of motivation for players trying to crack or re-enter the professional league. The Goal of the Southern Bowl is to start and continue NFL careers.
"The Southern Bowl in New Zealand is a wonderful opportunity for young men to get another chance to fulfil a lifelong dream. Our players will be able to showcase their skills and potential in two games at amazing venues” says Mike Holmgren.
“I'm honoured to be a part of these games (Southern Bowl) as the coach of one of the teams. My good friend Mike Shanahan and I will do our best to make the games exciting and competitive. I can't wait!”
Find out more information about the Southern Bowl match in Wellington on 12 March 2016.